Diet Beats Drugs for Diabetes Prevention
Study Shows Lifestyle Changes Are More Effective Than Drugs in Preventing Diabetes
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 28, 2009 -- Lifestyle changes resulting in long-term weight loss of
just a few pounds proved to be roughly twice as effective as drug treatment for
preventing type 2 diabetes in an ongoing government-sponsored trial.
Researchers followed almost 3,000 high-risk patients for a decade in one of
the largest and longest studies aimed at preventing diabetes ever
conducted in the U.S.
Roughly a third of the participants were initially asked to eat a low-fat
diet and engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a minimum of five
times a week, with the goal of losing 7% of their body weight within a
Another third were put on the diabetes drug metformin; the remaining
patients initially received no intervention.
Many of the people in the lifestyle intervention group met the weight loss
goal, losing an average of 15 pounds during the first year of the study.
While they regained, on average, 10 of those pounds during the next seven
years, the lifestyle intervention group continued to have the lowest rates of
"Weight loss is still the most important thing we have to recommend to
overweight people at risk for type 2 diabetes," William C. Knowler, MD, of the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), tells
WebMD. "This study shows that the benefits of even modest weight loss can
persist for many years."